Just improving the syllabus on Human Rights is not enough, Meghalaya should act

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The cabinet of Conrad Kongkal Sangma decided to implement the recommendations of Justice (Retired) B.D. Agarwal to improve the school syllabus on Human Rights. While recommending that the Meghalaya Government can improve school syllabus if necessary and hold awareness camps in the state regularly, the one-man inquiry commission noted police force should be adequately sensitised about the human value, and the rule of law in a democratic country.

The cabinet decision taken on March 5, 2019 was necessitated after Justice Agarwal, who probed the police firing at Resubelpara in North Garo Hills district in which three civilians were injured on March 6, 2017, recommended a slew of measures to prevent such incidents in future.

Ordering that the grievously injured civilians should be financially compensated, Justice Agarwal recommended that the police department must adopt modern technologies, like using of high resolution search lights and using spike strips instead of using gunshots to deflate the tyres of the vehicle which resulted in injuries to the three villagers.

The catch point- the state of Meghalaya for the last 47 years will simply jump to action whenever the Judiciary comes to the picture. More so, the bureaucrats in the state will follow word by word the recommendation particularly made by the Supreme Court. This time too, as Justice Agarwal is in the picture, the government without even blinking an eye has recommended to improve the syllabus on Human Rights.

This time the cabinet has requested the education department to improve the syllabus on Human Rights. Moreover, the education department is of the view that Human Rights must be part of the syllabus and the same will be taken up during the state curriculum frame work design which is likely to be notified soon.

One more issue is that, the state education board does not even have a committee on syllabus, which should have been constituted with the authors, experts and educationists. The present textbooks being used in the State Board are evident enough, where the students are not being exposed to reality. Also, the state’s heroes and achievements are not at all included in the school curriculum frame work!

State Home Minister informed that his government would request the Meghalaya Human Rights Commission to hold awareness camps in the state regularly and for the police headquarters to initiate action on the recommendation of the commission.

It is a bitter fact that in the state of Meghalaya, starting from the Pre-school admission to Post Graduation studies, the seats are being reserved based on religious affiliation, schedule caste and tribes status, and of course financial influence.

Next comes the percentage scored by the individual for higher studies. Understanding that the percentage of pass brings laurel not only to the individual students but to the education institution as well on which they can cash on, hence some schools force the students who fail to scored high marks to drop out from higher studies.

The same reservations are also witnessed even in the hospitals, particularly privately owned hospitals, where religion affiliation are the priority for treatment, not the symptoms, and the rate of treatment too differs.

Cabinet of Conrad Kongkal Sangma only tried to implement the recommendations of Justice Agarwal to improve the syllabus on Human Rights, but did not take cognizance of the dignity and Human Rights of weaker section of the society and slow learner in the schools and colleges, who are not covered by the reservation and quotas and religious minorities. All such are also the members of the same society for which the government suggests to enhance the human value. The rule of law in a democratic country cannot deny individuals their Rights. Than only one can claim to have improved the Human Rights in Meghalaya.